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Int Dent J. 2003 Feb;53(1):41-50.

Late-life depression: its oral health significance.


Late-life depression (LLD) initially occurs after age 65 and is a major public health concern because elderly people who are at high risk constitute an ever-expanding segment of the population. LLD is a mental illness in which mood, thought content, and behavioural patterns are impaired, causing individual distress, compromising social function and impairing self-maintenance skills (e.g. bathing, dressing, hygiene). It is characterised by marked sadness, or a loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities and may be accompanied by weight change, sleep disturbance, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and high suicide rate. Individuals under treatment for LLD and those whose illness has not been diagnosed or treated often present to the dentist with significant oral disease. LLD is frequently associated with a disinterest in performing oral hygiene, a cariogenic diet, diminished salivary flow, rampant dental decay, advanced periodontal disease, and oral dysesthesias. Many medications used to treat the disease magnify the xerostomia and increase the incidence of dental disease. Appropriate dental management necessitates a vigorous preventive dental education programme, the use of artificial salivary products, antiseptic mouthwash, daily fluoride mouthrinse and special precautions when administering local anaesthetics with vasoconstrictors and prescribing analgesics.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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